U.S. Economy Gains 661,000 Jobs in September, Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.9 Percent

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. economy added 661,000 jobs in September, coming up shy of expectations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected the most recent figure to clock in around 850,000 jobs gained. The economy has now recovered 11.4 million of the 22 million jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic. Additionally, the unemployment rate fell 50 basis points from August to 7.9 percent.

The leisure and hospitality sector added 318,000 jobs in September, nearly doubling the gains from August (174,000). Despite the sector gaining 3.8 million jobs over the past five months, it still lags February levels by 2.3 million jobs.

The retail sector also had notable gains, adding 142,000 jobs last month. Employment in retail trade is 483,000 jobs below its February level.

The average work week for nonfarm payroll employees ticked up 0.1 hours to 34.7 hours in September. Average hourly wages were largely unchanged, going up 2 cents to $29.47.

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